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Tesla Model S suspension and NDA situation: here are the facts [Updated]


The news of NHTSA regulators looking into a potential problem with the Tesla Model S’ suspension blew up yesterday after literally hundreds of media outlets, from Reuters to the NY Times, picked up the story. There are a lot of misleading headlines and reports out there right now so let’s focus on the facts we know so far.

The actual potential problem with Tesla’s suspension is only part of what prompt NHTSA to probe the situation. Media are widely reporting that Tesla attempted to cover up the alleged problems by making owners sign a non-disclosure agreement.

NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas:

“The agency immediately informed Tesla that any language implying that consumers should not contact the agency regarding safety concerns is unacceptable, and N.H.T.S.A. expects Tesla to eliminate any such language. Tesla representatives told N.H.T.S.A. that it was not their intention to dissuade consumers from contacting the agency.”

Update: Tesla reportedly agreed to update the Goodwill agreement to clarify that anyone signing it is in no way prohibited from reporting the repair to regulators.

First of, there’s currently no investigation or recall over this issue with Tesla. NHTSA is currently reviewing the case in order to decide if it needs to open a formal investigation. We will update if we get more information from the agency, but Tesla is already out with a statement claiming that there’s no defect on the Model S’ suspension and that the ‘NDA’ was not aimed at dissuading anyone to contact regulators, but they will work with NHTSA to correct it if there’s a need. Expand